Tennent Faces Possible Restructuring; PDE Places Centennial on Warning

Centennial School District has been placed on warning status by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) as not enough students at several of the district's schools have demonstrated grade-level proficiency on state-wide standardized tests.

The Education Committee of the Centennial School Board will hold a meeting to map out a plan for the district following a round of standardized test scores that didn’t make the grade.

Centennial School District did not achieve adequate yearly progress in 2011-12, according to recent PSSA results published on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website. 

Worse yet, William Tennent High School was placed on Corrective Action 2 for a fourth year.  

"There is no fifth year of 'Corrective Action 2'," said School Board Director Mark Miller at Monday evening's school board meeting.

"There are predators out there, including our own secretary of education, who would love to take control of our brand, spanking new high school if we don't escape this corrective action," he said.

The escape: making adequate yearly progress or AYP.

AYP is how the federal law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), measures the achievement of public schools across the nation.

In Pennsylvania, public school students in grades 3 through 8 as well as students in grade 11 take standardized reading and math tests known as the PSSA each spring.

Students then receive scores of below basic, basic, proficient or advanced based on the results of these standardized tests.

Every year the percentage of students expected to demonstrate proficiency grows. This growth will continue until 2014, when NCLB calls for 100 percent of students to test at a level of proficient or higher.

In 2011-12, Pennsylvania called for 78 percent of students in districts and schools to score proficient or above on the math test and 81 percent of students to score proficient or above in the reading assessment. 

The AYP requirements are meant to measure whether schools or districts are making sufficient progress towards the year 2014 goal of 100 percent proficiency.

According to PDE, William Tennent High School, Klinger Middle School, Log College Middle School, Stackpole Elementary School and Willow Dale Elementary School did not make AYP for 2011-12. 

The middle and elementary schools were placed on warning, as they had made AYP in the prior year. WTHS, however, has only made AYP twice since the inception of NCLB in 2001, once in 2010 and once in 2008. 

Click on the .pdf to view a graphic representation of the meaning of the state's different AYP designations.

For schools that receive federal Title I grant funds, a fourth year of corrective action status means that the district needs to begin to prepare a plan to restructure the school.

According to greatschools.org, the restructuring plan must include one of the following alternative governance arrangements:

  • reopen the school as a public charter school
  • replace all or most of the school staff, including the principal
  • enter into a contract to have an outside entity operate the school
  • arrange for the state to take over operation of the school
  • or any other major restructuring of the school's governance arrangement.

According to the parameters of NCLB, if a school that receives Title I funding lapses into a fifth year of corrective action 2 status, the school would be required to implement the previously agreed upon restructuring plan.

The statute does not define the consequences of the fifth year of corrective action for a non-Title I school. 

The Centennial School Board's Education Committee will meet to discuss the results of the 2011-12 PSSA exams and map out a plan of action for the district and the high school Tuesday, Oct. 2  at 7 p.m. in the board meeting room of the administration building.

Pamela October 04, 2012 at 03:19 PM
My daughter is in the gifted program. She has been calculating double and triple digits since 2nd grade. Math homework for 4th grade on Tuesday night: The number 4 button on your calculator is broken. Write 6 different ways to equal 40. ie 2x2x10, 1(2x2x10), 2x10+20,.....ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! Nice Math building blocks for a gifted child in 4th grade! This is why I personally think this district is run by INCOMPETENT IDIOTS and why we should have the option of a Charter School!
kidsfirst October 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The reason why a district like Wallingford-Swarthmore would be far more successful is directly related to demographics. Let's face it, how many of our kids are in ESL classes? That has a very big and direct impact on the scoring system. Comparing to districts like CB and Council Rock is in fact, not comparable. The teachers in those districts have children that already know the language. The responsibility does fall back on the parents in that regard. The children should know how to speak English before starting school. How can a teacher teach kids to their level with kids who cannot even comprehend what is being said? The parents of these kids do not even speak the language. Why should every handout from the school have one side in English and the other in Spanish? Why should so much funding and resources be put into teaching the language? It should be as basic a requirement as knowing the alphabet and how to count when starting school. However, that is not the case and the district then is taxed with teaching the kids not only how to read and write but how to learn a whole new language. That takes considerable time and resources and is directly impacting the kids who already know the language. This is a huge issue and should be addressed.
southampton parent October 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM
i agree kidsfirst. It is ridiculous that we have these kids in class who don't speak english and teachers have to teach them. What happen to us We are making everything easier by our papers written in english and spanish. Our website in english and spanish. We are teaching in English it should all be english and everyone needs to be speaking and doing work in English!
Leigh Lieberman October 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Pamela, You have my deepest sympathy - very few people are professionally qualified to make sound public school academic decisions, particularly regarding mathematical issues. I knew of only one educator that I would care to trust; for a short while she was our acting superintendent and I had high hopes for our district and looked forward to helping our youngsters expand their opportunities; she has since successfully sued our district. I am actively involved with national experts who told me about the exquisitely fine Singapore-based math textbooks. First, I urge you to get and start using quality materials ASAP. Second, I recommend you register your daughter for math competitions: -- Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools: http://www.moems.org/program.htm I ran the program for my son's school, while he was in 2nd grade. -- 24 Game - http://www.24game.com/ - also used in ES + MS competition FYI - valuable report: A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Nation_Deceived/ND_v1.pdf PS Wallingford Swarthmore SD is not successful because of EM, but in spite of it. The data for Central Bucks is also disappointing given their demographics. I urge parents to be pro-active regarding educational issues. A laissez-faire approach is too dicey to risk on something potentially so pivotal. Our public schools are not taking the need for focused rigorous academics seriously.
Pamela October 10, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Thank you so much for the info. I have begun to check out these things myself, since this district is not concerned about the education of its students. I guess billboards and posters are more important. Another fine example of quality leadership.


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